Sometimes a Smile is Enough

October 29, 2017

Rather than words for you this week, I thought I’d try to bring a smile to your face by sharing a few YouTube videos that have brought smiles to mine. Some of these are pretty old, but well worth it. Instead of setting them up, I’m just going to put the links here and let them be a surprise for you (note: all are safe for work). (Or, just scroll down. I’ve embedded them.)

Do you have a favourite video that brings a smile? Leave a comment and let me know about it. If I get some good ones, I do a follow-up.


Whoa, Backup There

October 13, 2017

Today, I’m going to preach unto you the gospel of a back-up strategy. (No, really, you want to read this, I promise.)

Here’s what happened:

I reached a writing milestone (I sent my daughter the first draft of Book 2). I thought, hey, how about I change up the file names and folders so they are consistent, and better reflect the series, rather than the random names I came up with before things were written. No problem. I’ve done this a bunch of times before.

Then. Something. Happened.

All. My. Work. Disappeared.


Now, I’ve been using computers, literally, since Ford was president. Want to know why I didn’t have a Major Freak-Out? Because I knew I had my stuff backed up. Not once. Not twice. But three times that come to mind. No, make that four. Maybe more.

The first back-up didn’t work. Ouch.

But I went to another in another place, and behold, my work was restored.

Here’s what you need to know about backing up: you want a 3-2-1 strategy (go ahead, click that link. I’ll be here when you get back). Basically, anything it would cause you pain to lose (photos, documents, the video of your wedding, that one pic you love of Spot when he was a puppy) you should have *three* copies of, *two* of which are local (like, in your home or office) but on *two* different devices (like, on your computer and on a Time Machine backup or an external hard drive). Plus, you should have *one* other copy off-site. Preferably, all this should be automated. Again, something like Time Machine for local backups, and a service like Backblaze (whose article I linked to) or Carbonite for off-site. The same goes for your phone. If you’re not backing up your phone, especially your photos, what happens when it goes kersplunk in that convenient bowl of water?*

Folks, you gotta do this. It’s not that hard or expensive, and doesn’t take that much time to put in place. I like you, and I don’t want you to feel pain. And there’s no pain quite like data loss that is preventable.

And if you’re the techy one, and you have all this handled, then who do you know that you can help out to put something like this in place? Your mom? Your grandpa? That nice Mrs Nelson who always gives you her spare squash?

Embrace the gospel of backing up. You’ll be glad you did (but you won’t know that until you need it and wish you had.)

(First published in my weekly email.)

New Facebook Page

I’ve set up a Facebook page for work-y, writerly things. Your Like on the page will make a million puppies smile, so go here and click Like.

Premium VOD: Really? Who’s Gonna Do That?

Movie Marquee

The news is out that Hollywood wants to let you pay for a new service – watching movies 60 days after release in the comfort of your own home with a discomfort to your wallet of $30 (see coverage by Variety, All Things D,  GigaOm and The Guardian).

Colour me sceptical.

Yes, it would be perfect for families who can save the hassle of schlepping the kids to the theatre, and then fighting over how much over-priced popcorn and sugar-products will be bought. That is a clear use case.  And maybe it would be worth it if you are gathering friends together for the occaission.

But I think there is a lot that speaks against it.

For one, that price is too high. It is a huge premium for something that will be out on DVD (or its digital equivalent) very soon after. And as one podcaster said, “For $30, I want to own it.”

I think it will take really compelling viewing to get people to pony up that kind of money.  You’ve just chosen not to take your money to the theatre for that Adam Sandler flick.  Are you really going to plunk down $30 to see it at home? Doubt it.

Exhibitors will, of course, hate it. We have seen over and over how they scream when anything encroaches on their territory.  While I’m all for day-and-date release  across all media and all platforms, exhibitors have resisted any further erosion of their windows. We saw that with the stink raised in the UK over Alice in Wonderland last year.

I also think there is a problem with the 60-day period.  The vast majority of movies are well and truly gone from the theatres in the first week or two.  I don’t know how much buzz will still be around six or seven weeks on.  60 days seems too long to me to capture any sort of theatrical release enthusiasm.  14 days? Yes. 30 days? Maybe.  60? I don’t think so.

Distribution is certainly changing. And we can say good for them for trying something new. But I don’t see this idea making much of a dent.


Photo credit: Hitchster